CREEC and allies file amicus brief on mootness question in SSA overpayment case

“Oiling the squeaky wheel should never erase the responsibility of our government to treat all of us fairly.” –Lindsay Nako, Impact Fund On June 24, 2016, CREEC, Impact Fund, and Justice in Aging, joined by a coalition of twelve other nonprofit allies, filed an amicus brief in the Fourth Circuit in a case against the Social Security Administration. The court will review SSA’s attempt to unilaterally moot the claims of potential class representatives challenging SSA’s practices for recouping alleged benefit overpayments that happened many years ago. The brief emphasizes the economic vulnerability of those affected by SSA’s ongoing policies and practices, and the importance of preserving access to class actions as a way to address these issues in a systemic fashion. To learn more about the case and the brief, check out Impact Fund’s blog...

Prison Outdoor Exercise Settlement Gets Final Approval and Some Good Press

Last Wednesday, Judge William Martínez granted final approval to the class action settlement in Decoteau v. Raemisch following a half-day hearing at which two named plaintiffs and several objectors spoke.  (The Judge also indicated that a written opinion would be forthcoming.)  This settlement, the culmination of two cases litigated over six years, ensures that inmates in solitary conditions at the Colorado State Penitentiary (CSP) will receive outdoor exercise for the first time since the facility was built in the early 1990s.   The case was settled late last year, and the settlement approved at last Wednesday’s hearing. Additional background is below; you can view some of the pleadings on either the Anderson case page or the Decoteau case page.  We got some good coverage in The Colorado Independent today, too! CSP is a supermax prison that was built in the early 1990s as an “urban” style prison, that is, the outer wall of the building is intended to constitute the outer security perimeter.  As a result, CSP has no outdoor yards for inmates to exercise.  Instead, for over twenty years, the Ad Seg inmates who were housed at CSP were only permitted to exercise in a cell similar to their living cell, with a narrow slit of a window covered by a metal grate that opened to the outdoors. In 2010, student attorneys from the University of Denver Civil Rights Clinic, their wonderful supervising professors, and co-counsel at CREEC filed suit on behalf of Troy Anderson, an inmate who had been in Ad Seg for 10 years (at that time), alleging, among other things, that this lack of outdoor exercise violated the Eighth Amendment. ...
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